A meme for our time.
World: There’s no way we can shut everything down in order to lower emissions, slow climate change and protect the environment.
Mother Nature: Here’s a virus. Practice.
PriceTags: We’re practicing for a lot more than preparation to climate change. At the moment, everyone on the globe is just trying to cope with a deadly virus. But there’s also some big thinking about where all this this practicing will lead. For one thing, it will give a more complex meaning to the progressive phrase “safe space.”
Here, for example, from New York Magazine:
NY Mag: You have suggested that we need to consider a system of “green zones” — places where everyone has either tested positive for antibodies or has tested negative with a swab test. The idea being to create restricted-access safe areas where people know they won’t get infected.
Chamath Palihapitiya*: The only solution to get back to work, and get back to life as we know it, is to establish pockets of cities and towns where it’s safe.
You get a stamp in your passport, or you get a special ID card, or you get a special bracelet. Then you can go into the green zones inside of your city or town and get back to work. And everybody else stays in a red zone for a certain amount of time until you can clear that test.
You can’t get this, the last time I checked, from somebody who doesn’t have it or has had it. You can only get it from somebody who does have it. So you’ve got to test! What choice do we have other than that right now?
Essentially having your medical data as a required public document seems concerning. It sounds more like a policy designed for the People’s Republic of China than the United States.
Yeah, but we have these moments when huge cataclysmic things happen. The large overreaches against civil liberties happen in moments like this — and they’ll happen this time around. I think most of us will be okay with it.
I would want to know before I go into a movie theater that everybody there had to badge-in with a card that had updated antibody screens that showed they were legitimately not shedding something communicable. We would never have thought that before this, but now I think it’s quite reasonable. When you look at the economic damage that’s done by the rampant nature of these kinds of things, do you want that to happen again? So I think people will be very open to giving up an amount of personal freedom for those assurances about the people around them.
Whatever happens inside our borders, presumably systems like this are going to start popping up for international travel.
I don’t know what the answers are, but I suspect that I’m going to need an additional form of identification for me to cross borders. Why would China ever let me in if I didn’t take a PCR test and couldn’t prove I didn’t have coronavirus after the shit that they went through?
And why would the United States ever let anybody in without knowing? Why take the risk? Why? You take the test. You wait the five, 15, 20 minutes. You sit there at the airport. Boom! You get a stamp. You’re clear. Go. Enjoy yourself.
And what if you’re a governor of a state that has an elderly, aging population versus you’re a governor of a state that has an extremely young population? The governor of Florida just said that people who fly in from New York and New Jersey will be ordered to quarantine themselves. If that continues, we’re now locking state-level borders in the United States.
These are big implications.
Palihapitiya came to prominence in Silicon Valley as an early executive at Facebook. He made headlines a decade later when he said that he didn’t let his own kids use screens, and that he felt “tremendous guilt” about his role in building a social-media platform that was “destroying how society works.” He is now, as CEO of his own venture firm Social Capital, Read more »